Jess Mason: Attorney/Cowboy

MASON FAMILY -- Jess and Cindy Mason with children Mariah, Marissa, and Matthew at home on their ranch in Centerville.

Jess Mason of Centerville has practiced law for 30 years, but in his heart, he is a cowboy and loves being at home on his ranch about 10 miles east of Centerville. Jess and his wife Cindy, who is originally from Flynn, purchased about 50 acres here many years ago. Since then, they have added acreage when it came available, and it has grown to the working 1,000 acre ranch it is today. Cindy's parents also live on acreage next to Jess and Cindy.

?I love history, and I especially like researching my family history,? said Jess. ?I hope to pass that history and appreciation for family on to our own kids.? Jess and Cindy have three children, Mariah, Matthew, and Marissa, who love and enjoy the ranch as much as their parents do.


It was while doing research on his father's family, that Jess learned of his connection to Leon County. ?My father's people settled in the Leon County area in the 1850's. They eventually left this area and moved further west.?

Jess' grandfather had been a rancher, but Jess' father did very little ranching and turned to a career in the Civil Service instead. ?We traveled all over the country ? sometimes moving a couple of times a year,? said Jess. It was while Jess was in the Houston area he met Cindy. Later they would visit Cindy's parents in Flynn, which eventually led them to decide to purchase property and start a ranch in Leon County.

?It has been a 'labor of love' ? the whole place,? said Jess. One third of the property is an active cattle operation with primarily registered Angus cows and bull. The rest of the acreage has been planted in trees. ?We believe it is important to be good Stewards of the Forest. We planted over 50,000 trees twelve years ago, and can now hardly recognize the place. It looked like a bombed out moon surface when we decided to reclaim it with trees.?

Today, it is a forest of thick, healthy foliage that is quickly replacing the 40% of trees lost during the years of drought that had been plaguing Texas. ?I encourage anyone who is not using their land for another purpose, to consider planting trees,? said Jess.

Jess' ranch is also home to a beautiful ?totally engineered lake? that is equipped to handle overflows that slow down the waters so that they benefit the land without causing flood problems. ?I was told a lake would be impossible to build here,? said Jess, ?but the lake is evidence that the right engineer can accomplish what seemed highly unlikely.?


Recently, Jess was the lead attorney for one of the largest, if not the largest, civil case tried in Leon County. Jess and a team of lawyers represented Dick Wallrath of Centerville's Champion Ranch as Dick battled to retain possession of his large and very valuable estate after some of his children challenged Dick's possession of Dick's own estate. After seven days of trial, the two parties reached a settlement, and Dick Wallrath was able to retain Champion Ranch and all his assets.

?As an attorney, some clients make an impression on me?, explained Jess while speaking of Dick Wallrath, ?Dick, not only impressed me at the very beginning, but he taught me things. I especially remember when I first talked with Dick about taking on this case, and someone asked Dick, who was 82 years old at the time, ?Are you sure you don't want to just let this go? And not try to fight it??

Jess said Dick looked at Jess and said, ?I am just not made that way.? According to Jess, Dick remained actively involved with the case and was a great source of insight and knowledge in preparing the case. ?And there is nothing like preparation to be ready for a trial,? said Jess. The lawyers spent two years in preparation for the Wallrath trial.

Because the agreement between the two parties was reached before the case went to the jury, the jury was dismissed without knowing the terms of the agreement. ?Some of the jurors on the case have contacted me to find out if Dick was able to keep his ranch?, said Jess. ?I have not spoken to all the jurors, but the ones I have talked to all said they felt the ranch and estate should belong to Dick. I know we were very pleased with the outcome in that trial.?

Jess also spoke about the presiding judge in the case, the Honorable District Judge Deborah Evans. ?Judge Evans is one the fairest and smartest judges I have ever tried a case under. She reads all the filings and motions and understands the case. Leon County and the other counties that share Judge Evans are very lucky to have her.?

Clients who have smart an energetic Jess Mason for their attorney are also very lucky.

?Our legal system may be slow at times,? said Jess, ? but it works, and I support our system. Justice is a process, it is not a result. I really enjoy it when I know I have helped someone solve a problem.?

Jess Mason's main office is located in Houston at the law firm of O'Conor, Mason & Bone, PC. Mason also has an office in Centerville, and an office at his ranch. Mason has tried cases as far south as Galveston County and as far north as Collin County.